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wines from Bibendum's 2007 sale

by Tom Cannavan, 2007

Notes on six wines sampled from Bibendum's summer sale, which begins July 3rd 2007 and runs until the 13th, with substantial reductions. You can request the full list of what's on offer from

Though I cannot vouch for everything in the sale, I have to say that this cracking little selection of wines represents a simply outstanding buying opportunity. Get in quick.

These wines are available only by the unmixed case of six or 12 bottles. Delivery on all wines is free if you order £250 worth or more.

sparkling and white

Howard Park (Australia) Madfish Riesling 2006
Reduced from £8.99 to just £5.15, this has got to be one of the bargains of the Bibendum summer clearance. Madfish is the second label of the Howard park winery in Western Australia, who scooped top spot in the National Riesling Challenge in Australia with their 2004, beating over 300 all-comers. This is pristine cool-climate Riesling, with quite pungent and succulent aromas of nettles, passionfruit and plenty of vivid lime and lime blossom, but with a steely minerality too. On the palate it is just, but only just, off-dry, with a huge sweep of lemon and lime zest fruit, but also a hint of something more ripe, with peach and juicy nectarine nuances. The acidity is lovely, shimmering through the mid-palate and leaving this long, balanced and just perfect for summer. One to buy by the case. £8.99, reduced to £5.15.

Glenguin (Australia) The Old Broke Block Semillon 2005
Glenguin's owner and winemaker is Robin Tedder MW, a Scot who gave up a career in politics to make wine. This is classic Hunter Valley Semillon, with only 12% alcohol, making it a fine choice for a summer's day in the garden. The low-yielding Old Broke Block was picked late, and this wine exhibits a wonderfully honeyed, even toasty character, with oatmeal and some little floral and spice notes, but also plenty of fat, generous lemon fruit. On the palate this wine has real intensity and concentration - remarkably so given its modest alcohol - with racy citrus and crunchy apple flavours, and a terrific zestiness that races across the tongue. The ripeness and slightly waxy weight and texture of the Semillon is all there, giving this a lovely limpid, mouth-filling character. Another cracking buy. £8.82, reduced to £5.32.

Domaine William Fèvre (France) Chablis 2005
It is always worth noting whether a bottle from this normally excellent Chablis producer appears with "Domaine William Fèvre" on the label (as in this case), or simply "William Fèvre": though there is not necessarily a quality hierarchy, the Domaine bottles are from Fèvre's own vineyards, whilst the others are négociant wines, made from bought-in grapes. In fact I slightly prefer this "Domaine" bottle to a "William Fèvre" 1er Cru 2005 tasted recently. It has a very attractive nose of ripe but quite steely and pure apple fruit, with an edge of minerality and a tang of lemon zest. On the palate this is concentrated without being at all clumsy, and has a beautifully poised feel to it, balancing those pure and clean fruit flavours with that stony minerality and little herbal and citrussy nuances. Quite long and staying very focused, this will cellar too. £8.99, Bibendum.

Graham Beck (South Africa) Brut Rosé 2005
Graham Beck's vintage pink fizz is made by the traditional method, from 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay. It has that delicate pink colour known as 'partridge eye', and a nose that is fresh, crisp and citrussy, with glimpses of nettles and a mossy quality. In the mouth it has a lively, rolling mousse, and a palate that is dry, crisp and savoury without being at all thin or mean. There's plenty of lemony fruit, and just a hint of raspberry and sweet, earthy character, in a wine that is balanced and moreish, and ideal for drinking at your garden parties and barbies this summer. £10.28, reduced to £7.47.


La Serre (France) Syrah 2005
The La Serre range of wines is a big selling, easy-going set of southern French wines that won't break the bank, and usually deliver pretty good value for money. This Syrah is a Vin de Pays d'Oc, with a really pretty nose of ripe red fruits, a little floral lift, and a hint of spice. On the palate this has plenty of juicy raspberry and cherry fruit, with a soft, almost creamy acidity and a nice little nip of tannin, making for an uncomplicated and deliciously gluggable bottle. In the summer sale Bibendum are offering this at a throway £17.82 for six - £2.97 a bottle - which is close to half price. Another strong buy: chill lightly and fire up that barbie...

de Loach (California) Pinot Noir 2005
This appears to be another outstanding bargain in the Bibendum summer sale, with others retailing it at around £12.00, but Bibendum asking just £6.36 for the two weeks of the offer. It has an attractively creamy and bright nose of silken black fruits, with black cherry and juicy damson plum, and plenty of smoky, spicy, briar and earthy sweetness. On the palate the sweetness and svelte, supple ripeness of both fruit and tannins is immediately seductive, but there's more to this wine than just flatteringly ripe fruit: it does not lose its 'Pinosity', with a swirling, smoky oak character and those earthy, lightly truffly notes present and correct. Spice and a nice edge of acidity add crispness to the finish, in a very attractive Pinot made irresistible at the offer price. £6.36 per bottle.